WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich’s trial on bogus charges will be held behind closed doors amid fears of Putin stitch up

WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich’s trial on bogus charges will be held behind closed doors amid fears of Putin stitch up
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EVAN Gershkovich’s sham trial on bogus espionage charges will be held behind closed doors.

The innocent American, 32, has been wrongly accused by Vladimir Putin’s crooks of collecting “secret information” for the CIA.

AFP

US journalist Evan Gershkovich was arrested on bogus espionage charges in April last year and has been held in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison ever since[/caption]

AP

Evan Gershkovich pictured in April looking defiant after over a year suffering in pre-trial detention[/caption]

The Wall Street Journal reporter was arrested in March last year while on a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg.

He has been held in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison ever since.

Gershkovich became the first Western journalist since the Soviet era to be arrested for spying in Russia.

Last week, Russia accused him of working for the CIA and “collecting secret information” about Uralvagonzavod, a military facility in the Sverdlovsk region.

It was the first time Russian authorities had announced the details of the accusations against Gershkovich – after saying only that he was “caught red-handed”.

He will stand trial in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, Russian authorities said.

And on Monday, the regional court handling the case said the trial would start on June 26 – and it will be held behind closed doors.

Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Gershkovich, his family, his employer and Washington have denied all charges against him – insisting the journalist was just simply doing his job.

The US said the charges had “zero credibility” and the Wall Street Journal slammed Russia’s announcement of a “sham trial” as “outrageous”.


The Wall Street Journal’s chief editor Emma Tucker and top executives said: “Evan Gershkovich is facing a false and baseless charge.

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“Russia’s latest move toward a sham trial is, while expected, deeply disappointing and still no less outrageous.”

Washington last year declared Gershkovich “wrongfully detained” – which means the White House regards him as a political hostage.

“We have been clear from the start that Evan has done nothing wrong,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

“He should never have been arrested in the first place.

“The charges against him are false, and the Russian government knows that they are false. He should be released immediately.”

Washington has accused Moscow of arresting its citizens on baseless charges to use them as bargaining chips to secure the release of Russians convicted abroad.

Evan Gershkovich is facing a false and baseless charge. Russia’s latest move toward a sham trial is, while expected, deeply disappointing and still no less outrageous


Emma TuckerWall Street Journal’s chief editor

In February, Putin, 71, said he would like to see Gershkovich freed as part of a prisoner exchange and that talks were ongoing.

But the Russian tyrant made clear he wanted any deal to involve the release of a Russian jailed in Germany for killing a Chechen dissident, assumed to be Vadim Krasikov.

He was serving a life sentence for the 2019 killing in Berlin of a Georgian citizen of Chechen descent.

On Monday, the Kremlin said there was “contact” with the US on a possible exchange involving Gershkovich.

“But they (talks) need to be held in total silence,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Timeline of Gershkovich’s detainment

FALSELY jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been detained on baseless accusations of espionage since March, 2023.

Here is a timeline of key events:

Day 1: March 29, 2023 – Gershkovich, who was an approved journalist working in Russia, was arrested on a reporting trip to the Urals.

Russia’s security service, the FSB, charged him with espionage – a charge that he, the WSJ and the US government deny.

They argue – without evidence – that he collected “information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”

Day 12: April 10, 2023 – The US designated Gershkovich wrongfully detained and launched effort on Russia to free him.

Day 20: April 18, 2023 – A Moscow court upheld his pre-trial detention, denied him bail and ordered him to be held in the capital’s infamous Lefortovo prison.

Day 55: May 23, 2023 – Gershkovich’s detention was extended until at least August 30.

His parents, Ella Milman and Mikhail Gershkovich, travelled to the hearing and said “any parents who loves their kid would travel to the end of the world to be with them for give minutes.”

Day 76: June 13, 2023 – The White House called on Russia to immediately free Gershkovich and also free former US marine Paul Whelan, who was convicted of espionage in 2020.

Day 85: June 22, 2023 – A Moscow court upheld the extension of Gershkovich’s detention until at least August 30.

Day 100: July 7, 2023 – The world’s press stood for solidarity with the reporter as his shameful detention reached 100 days.

Day 174: September, 19, 2023 – Gershkovich had another appeal for freedom blocked.

Day 195: October 10, 2023 – The US reporter had yet another appeal denied which would see his detention extended until at least November 30.

Day 244: November 28, 2023 – A court ruled Gershkovich would remain in pre-trial detention until at least January 30.

Day 303: January 26, 2024 – The innocent journalist’s time behind bars was extended until the end of March.

Day 316: February 8, 2024 – Vladimir Putin tells US TV host Tucker Carlson a deal could be reached between Russia and the US over Gershkovich.

Day 363: March 26, 2024: Gershkovich’s detention will drag on until June 30 as he nears one year behind bars.

Day 442: June 13, 2024: Russian authorities announce he will stand trial over bogus accusations that the reporter was spying for the CIA

Gershkovich has repeatedly launched appeals to secure his freedom – all have so far been rejected.

Born in the US, the journalist, who had worked for AFP before joining the Wall Street Journal, is a well-known member of the Moscow press corps.

Since his arrest, Gershkovich has been held at Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison – the Soviet-era’s most prominent prison used during Joseph Stalin’s purges.

At the prison, Gershkovich shares a small cell with another inmate.

Despite the grim conditions, at each court appearance Gershkovich has smiled defiantly and appeared in good spirits.

Other US nationals detained in Russia include reporter Alsu Kurmasheva, who was detained last year for failing to register as a “foreign agent”.

Her employers have slammed the case against her as politically motivated.

Former US marine Paul Whelan, who has been in a Russian prison since 2018 and is serving a 16-year sentence on espionage charges, is also pushing to be included in any future prisoner exchange.

AFP

Evan Gershkovich has appeared defiant at each court appearance[/caption]

AFP

Gershkovich being escorted out of the Lefortovsky court in Moscow in January[/caption]

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